Check out the Video Album of the 2011 ATF Courtesy of Leon Ewing. Click on the speakers names below to view individual videos.
We all grapple with what it means to live with rapid change. A world where geopolitics, technology, economics, culture and ecology – converge and connect in increasingly complex ways. Finite natural resources… Technologies that connect us with what’s happening almost anywhere in the world in real time… Floods, earthquakes and tsunamis at what seems an unprecedented rate…
We see world powers and established institutions being challenged – about greed, ethics, transparency, inclusion and access. New networks, leaders and powers are emerging – relationships are being reinvented, innovation remapped, governance and business re‐imagined.
As theatre workers, how do we engage – both on and offstage – with the urgent and the undeniable? Is our art speaking to contemporary communities? Is our infrastructure porous enough to welcome new generations of practitioners with different ways of seeing and doing? Are we thinking for change? Or are our practices further entrenching old habits – producing as if the world’s resources are limitless, making assumptions about who our audiences are and what they want, doing it ‘this way’ because it’s ‘how we do it’.
ATF 2011 was an opportunity to collectively recognise the innovations that were taking place in the sector and to sketch out the changes yet to be made. What needed to be held on to? What could be left behind? What’s our vision for theatre and culture in Australia? We wanted to dream, to assume responsibility and then take action.
ATF 2011 was polyvocal in structure, with every session featuring multiple voices and divergent thinking as a means of accruing knowledge. Delegates engaged in various modes of formal and informal discussion – panels, salons, social gatherings and open space forums and collaboratively generated ten priorities for action over the next decade. These formed the basis for the ongoing work that emerged from the Forum.
The architecture of the program took inspiration from ATF 2009, where many theatre workers first encountered Open Space Technology and from the National Indigenous Theatre Forum 2010, where open space discussions were distilled to generate priorities for action, resulting in productive collaborations and outcomes after the event.
By combining a generative space for open discussion and a distilling process to name priorities and actions, it was our hope that the sector would be able to map out a vision and plan for the next ten years.
Many conversations began at ATF 2011… and we look forward to the continued hubbub of collaboration over the coming year/s. 2021… here we come.
WEDNESDAY 14TH SEPTEMBER
8.30AM REGISTRATION & COFFEE
10-10.30AM WELCOME SESSION
Introductions & Welcome to Country
Shannon Ruska of the Yuggera people Andrew Ross (Brisbane Powerhouse) Stephen Armstrong (Theatre Board Chair) Fiona Winning (ATF Curator)
10.30-1PM WILLING FUTURES
Looking back to map the developments and innovations implemented since we last met as a sector in 2009. Looking forward to 2021 with a series of ‘Postcards from the Future’ from ten provocateurs:
Lyn Wallis (Theatre Board), John Harvey (Brown Cab Productions), Lewis Jones (Judith Wright Centre & formerly Empire Theatre), Jane Crawley (City of Melbourne), Diat Alferink (Independent Artist), Robyn Archer (Centenary of Canberra), Nadine McDonald-Dowd (Independent Artist), Lisa Erhart (Dynamic Eco-Solutions), Rick Heath (Push Management), Polash Larsen (Independent Artist), Brian Lucas (Independent Artist), Joshua Lynzaat (St Martins, Catapult), Ralph Myers (Belvoir), Joey Ruigrok van der Werven (Independent Artist) and Angharad Wynne-Jones (Arts House/Tipping Point).
FACILITATOR: Anni Davey
Australian Theatre Network meet-and-greet in the Graffitti Room
2-5PM DELEGATES CHOOSE TO ATTEND ONE SALON & THE IDEAS IN MOTION PANEL THROUGHOUT THE AFTERNOON
2-3.20PM PANEL: IDEAS IN MOTION
Are we thinking for innovation? Or are our organisations and practices entrenching old habits? What do we need to hold onto and what do we need to leave behind to negotiate our ever‐evolving worlds? Leading thinkers, practitioners and commentators from within and beyond the theatre sector shared their thoughts on change and innovation – addressing the nexus of cultural, artistic and business practices.
FACILITATOR: Janenne Willis (Undercurrent/Next Wave)
2-3.20PM SALONS 1 & 2
Delegates choose one of a series of salons, each inviting conversation around specialist areas of current research, practice and investigation. Each salon began with a conversation between collaborators/ colleagues, and then opened up to the whole group for discussion.
Salon 1 Ambitious Alliances: Conversation started by Lee Cumberlidge (Insite Arts) & Helen Marriage (Artichoke, UK)
Salon 2 Women in Theatre Research: Conversation started by Gail Cork (Australian Script Centre), Elaine Lally (University of Technology Sydney) & Sarah Miller (University of Wollongong)
3.30-5PM PANEL: IDEAS IN MOTION (Repeat)
3.30-5PM SALONS 3 & 4 Delegates choose one of a series of salons, each inviting conversation around specialist areas of current research, practice and investigation. Each salon began with a conversation between collaborators/ colleagues, and then opened up to the whole group for discussion.
Salon 3 Sustaining Futures: Conversation started by Lisa Erhart (Dynamic Eco-Solutions), Terese Casu (La Boite) & Dan Evans (Metro Arts)
Salon 4 Reframing Local, National & Regional Connections: Conversation started by Andrew Ross (Brisbane Powerhouse), Ade Suharto (Independent Artist) & Daniel Brine, Performance Space
5.15-6.45PM DUSK PICNIC IN THE PARK
Delegates chilled out on the grass by the river, joining one of 20 picnics hosted by a Queensland delegate. With glass in hand, delegates caught up on some local knowledge and listened to ‘Daily Impressions’ by respondents Candy Bowers & Tim Stitz
7-10.30PM Various Brisbane Festival & Under the Radar Shows ($20-$40)
8.20PM Pecha Kucha: was a free event with special guests from ATF – Jude Anderson (Punctum), Steve Bull (pvi collective), Suzanne Kersten (one step at a time like this), Paul Osuch (Anywhere Theatre Festival) & Joey Ruigrok van der Werven (Independent Artist)
THURSDAY 15TH SEPTEMBER
8-9AM Australian Circus and Physical Theatre Association Breakfast
9-10.45AM OPEN SPACE FORUM
Australian Theatre 2021: courageous, relevant, dynamic… audience demand at an all time high… What will we do to get there?
Using the inclusive Open Space Technology introduced at ATF 2009, the group created a vision for what our theatre sector would be in 2021, and how we could innovate and invent to ensure we get there. Participants proposed, lead and documented discussions and developed pathways for change.
FACILITATOR: Wesley Enoch (Queensland Theatre Company)
10.45-11.15 MORNING TEA & BUILD YOUR OWN ITINERARY
11.15-1.15PM OPEN SPACE GROUP DISCUSSIONS
Delegates negotiated their own itineraries and participated in 4 x 20 minute open space discussions facilitated by delegates.
2-3.40PM PANEL: INTERDEPENDENCE Love, Money & Artistic Exchange
Over the last decade, there’s been a welcome increase in partnering and collaboration among the sector – between small and major companies, independent artists and venues, across cultural and national borders. Artists and companies collaborate to share resources, practices and audiences, to create work that neither partner could produce alone. A panel of practitioners shared their experiences of partnering and the impact it had on their work – negotiating different ways of making, working in culturally and economically unfamiliar conditions, optimising both successes and failures.
FACILITATOR: Jo Porter (Malthouse)
4-5.30PM DRINKS & DAILY IMPRESSIONS by respondents Candy Bowers & Tim Stitz
FRIDAY 16th SEPTEMBER
9-9.45AM INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATORS SKYPE CONVERSATION
In this session Lenine Bourke and Darren O’Donnell compared their respective companies’ models and processes and freewheeled their way through the principles underpinning their work – social practice, working with non-artists and international collaboration.
With Lenine Bourke (Contact Inc.) and Darren O’Donnell (Mammalian Diving Reflex, Canada)
9.45-11.15 PANEL: AUDIENCE ACTIVATIONS
Responding to audience demand for more connection, for the more experiential – artists and companies are experimenting with new modes of engagement that have the capacity to deepen and re-imagine relationships between artists and audiences.
FACILITATOR: Annette Downs (Tasmania Performs)
11.15-11.40AM MORNING TEA
11.40- 1PM CONNECTIONS: ACTION PLANNING FOR 2021
Emerging from the Open Space discussions, key priority areas were discussed in further detail with breakout groups devising a series of strategies and actions.
FACILITATOR: Wesley Enoch
1.45-3.45PM CONVICTIONS: NAMING THE TOP TEN
Report backs from breakout groups & commitment to the Top Ten priorities towards 2021.
FACILITATOR: Wesley Enoch
4-5PM SUM UP & FEEDBACK
FACILITATORS: Wesley Enoch & Anni Davey
5-5.30PM TOAST & FAREWELL
MORE ON THE SALONS
2-3.20PM Ambitious Alliances: Conversation started by Lee Cumberlidge (Insite Arts) & Helen Marriage (Artichoke, UK)
National and international collaboration and co-production involves relationship building, shared vision and potentially delicate intercultural dialogue. The benefits are clear – combined resources, multiple outings for new work and cross-cultural audiences. In this salon, Helen Marriage shared some of her experiences of transnational partnering at Artichoke, an independent creative company who work with artists in public spaces to put on large-scale free events.
2-3.20PM Women in Theatre Research: Conversation started by Gail Cork (Australian Script Centre), Elaine Lally (University of Technology Sydney) & Sarah Miller (University of Wollongong)
Since 2009, there has been prolific debate about the persistent underrepresentation of the work of women directors and playwrights at the highest levels of the theatre industry. Despite rigorous debate in formal and informal contexts, strategies for addressing this underrepresentation have been elusive. The Australia Council has commissioned researchers Elaine Lally and Sarah Miller to analyse the issues affecting women in theatre, as the basis for informing the development of strategies and actions. As part of their research, Elaine and Sarah shared their findings to date and tested out some possible ideas to drive change.
3.35-5PM Sustaining Futures: Conversation started by Lisa Erhart (Dynamic Eco-Solutions), Terese Casu (La Boite) & Dan Evans (Metro Arts)
To reduce our carbon imprints, refining our practices and everyday work choices is critical. Sharing knowledge, developing a vision and creating something that’s meaningful for collaborators across artistic, technical, marketing and management is a process Lisa Erhart and Terese Casu have undertaken to build a sustainability strategy for La Boite and collaborators. In this salon, they shared their progress in developing a framework for integrating Sustainable Business Practices into the everyday world of live theatre – and provided an update along with Suzanne Daley (LPA) on a Queensland-based sustainable arts practice initiative of Live Performance Australia and Dynamic Eco-Solutions.
3.35-5PM Reframing Local, National & Regional Connections: Conversation started by Andrew Ross (Brisbane Powerhouse), Ade Suharto (Independent Artist) & Daniel Brine (Performance Space)
Over the last decade, Australian Theatre’s contemporary engagement within our region has seen a proliferation of outward-bound touring and intercultural collaboration. However, contemporary theatre from our own geographic region is rarely seen. In this session delegates joined Andrew Ross and Ade Suharto in a conversation about the potential for more dynamic relationships between local, national and regional theatre communities, languages and practices.